British Art between the Wars

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 09 – British Art  between the Wars

Peter Duffy tells us about the key contributors to British Art between the Wars. Peter starts by introducing is to Britain before the First World War. He tells us about art at that time,


We are introduced to the leading artistic talents of the time.

  • Paul Nash a British surrealist painter and war artist. He was also a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. He was among the most important landscape artists of the time and played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art.

Self portrait woodcut – in the Public Domain

  • by George Charles Beresford, half-plate glass negative, 1913 – In the Public Domain

    Wyndham Lewis was an English writer, painter, and critic. He was a co-founder of the Vorticist art movement and edited the Vorticist literary magazine called Blast.

Posted to the western front as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, he spent much of his time ‘spotting’ in Forward Observation Posts. He registered targets and called down fire from batteries massed around the rim of the Ypres Salient. After the 3rd Battle of Ypres he was appointed as an official war artist for both the Canadian and British governments.

  • We hear about other members of the Vortices Group including:
    • William Roberts,
    • David Bomberg,
    • Eric Wadsworth
    • Jacob Epstein,
    • Jessica Dismorr,
    • C R W Nevinson, all of whom studied at the Slade School of Art. Many of these artists studied under Henry Tonks, an ex surgeon given to sarcasm.
More artists:

Peter then talks about the artists:

  • Stanley Spencer,
  • Mark Gertler,
  • Dora Carrington, and
  • Ben Nicholson.

World War 1:

The war had a great impact on Society and the artists. There was a great difference between those who fought and those who didn’t.

The Bloomsbury Group artists were non-combatants and were conscious of the changes that the war had brought. This led to divergences of opinion.

Many of the artists who were war artists were very far behind the lines others had direct experience of the conflict.

Those who had experience of the front line include Paul Nash, David Bomberg, Wyndham Lewis, William Roberts and David Jones. Jessica Dismorr cared for the wounded.

Hear the whole story by listening to this fascinating podcast.

The are no graphics to accompany this talk:

Copyright restrictions apply to much of the art in the original talk and so it cannot be included on this page. You will find much of it on the Internet on the sites of the owners of the copyright.

About this podcast:

The Farnham U3A site is found at Farnham U3A Home Page.

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AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the title music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham U3A World History Group 2020

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.